Saturday, July 15, 2006

I don't know.

Mucho family. As you my have gathered, I babysat last night. And I now have other relatives staying with me. This just days after returning from a week spent with some of the same relatives. So as usual part of me is craving my usual solitary life even as another part is trying to hold onto these moments, because these very family members are about to move across the country.

I realized that a reason I don't like staying with other people is not so much not being in my own home, but being in someone else's home. I'm okay with hotels. I don't know if it's because I've lived alone for so long or because I have a somewhat regimented personality, but I like being in control of my schedule and my surroundings. For example, I wake up really early, even when I don't want to. In my own home, I have things to do - tricks to try to fall asleep again (tv turned down low to an inane sitcome I've seen over and over, sleep timer set for 15 minutes), internet when I can't, etc. In someone else's house I am often trapped in a room, waiting for someone else to get up, or slipping down into their living room, trying to be quiet, sitting on their sofa with a glass of water and a book, wondering how many hours before someone else wakes up.

So I generally get tense right before a trip, even if I don't understand why. I start out counting the nights before I'll be home again. The shift from my little insular world to someone else's isn't always easy, and I fight it. Last week I was stressed when the train I was taking was almost 45 minutes late leaving Penn Station. A large group of us, familiar with the route, had been standing on a line outside the usual gate for the entire time, when finally it was announced and dozens more rushed forward, and past us. I was annoyed, and said to the guy who'd been standing behind me for the past hour, "So much for waiting in line, if people think they can just rush the gate."

A woman cramming into the space next to me said, "Sorry, I'm from out of town, I'm not as sophisticated as you, I don't know how all this works," with a sneer. So I bitched back, "It's simple. A long row of people, standing next to something? That's a line. You go to the back of it and wait your turn." She told me I had anger management problems and then snickered, "You need caffeine. There's a Starbucks back there, okay?"

Being a former caffeine addict who had to give it up, that's not the thing to say to me, but I realized that I was so angry I was shaking so I just shut up and kept walking, making sure I was ahead of her when we got to the guy checking tickets. But then I started feeling weird, like maybe I am being too much of a bitch, it's just a line, right? I need to relax. So I turned to her on the escalator and said, "Listen, it's just a little frustrating to have waited in line and get cut off like that, I don't mean to take it out on you." And her response? Called me a bitch. So I shut up and got on the train. But I really wanted to push her off the escalator.

Hmmm. Maybe she's right about that anger management thing.

Seriously, I know it's just the stress of the moment, and that's what I'm trying to come to terms with. Why can't I just relax? I wonder sometimes how I'll ever be able to seriously date again if I get all twisted just thinking about staying at someone else's.

And the reality is that even as I sit here and count how many hours until my apartment is blissfully quiet and mine alone again, I know that I'll miss having them here.


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